January 13, 2017
When I started shooting archery a decade ago, there were hardly any options designed for 14-year-old kids. My choices were an actual youth model that seemed to lack quality, a woman's bow or a small mainline bow.
The options were so limited that I just elected to use a hand-me-down from my brother, which resembled the same youth bow technology that companies had been pumping out for years. Fast forward to 2017 and that's no longer the case.
Now, companies are using the same materials and technology on their youth bows as they're using on their flagship bows. It's a refreshing trend that's sure to make the next generation a deadly group of hunters. Here are the best new youth bows from ATA 2017.
While most small frame bows focus on simplicity, Mathews has worked on developing the most advanced youth bow on the market. It's powered by the same CROSSCENTRIC cam and AVS technology that's used in the Halon series, offering the company's best craftsmanship. The Stoke ($999) is 27 inches axle-to-axle and has an IBO of 314 fps. The max draw weights for this bow are 40, 50 and 60 pounds.
The Hoyt Fireshot ($389) is fast, smooth and versatile thanks to its VersaFlex Cam & ½ Performance System. The bow will fit any youth archer, with draw lengths from 18 to 28 inches and packages that max out at 41 or 51 pounds. The brace height is very forgiving on the Fireshot, measuring at nearly 7 inches. At just 3 pounds and 29 inches axle-to-axle, it is small enough for youth archers, while still shooting 281 fps.
For growing youth archers, it's important to maintain flexibility at any time. The PSE Fever ($299) does just that, with easily adjusted constant peak weights that don't need a bow press. The draw length is also highly adjustable, ranging from 11 to 29 inches. Spitting out arrows at over 300 fps, the Fever uses split limbs and advanced cam technology. This bow is a bit bigger than most youth models, coming in at 32 inches axle-to-axle.
The Quest Radical ($399) is the perfect transition bow for youth hunters. It has a wide range for draw weight at 15 to 70 pounds, and likewise a wide range for draw length at 17 to 30 inches. This bow will last a young archer for their entire adolescence, making it the only compound they'll need before adulthood. Surprisingly, this bow can produce speeds up to 295 fps while still offering a long brace height of over 7 inches.
Bear Cruzer RTH
Like Bear always does, it's come out with one of the most economical bows for youth archers in 2017. The Cruzer Ready to Hunt Package ($499) comes ready to shoot with every accessory you need, including quiver, stabilizer, rest and sight. The Cruzer also has the biggest draw-weight range on the market, being adjustable from 5 t0 70 pounds. This bow has an incredible IBO of 310 fps and brace height of 6 ½ inches.
Diamond Edge SB-1
Powering the new Edge SB-1 ($449) is Diamond's Certified Bowtech Synchronized Binary Cam system, giving it amazing accuracy with hard hitting speeds of 318 fps. The technology used doesn't make it any less youth friendly though, with 63 pounds of limb adjustment and 15 inches of draw-length adjustment available. At 3.6 pounds and a length of 31 inches axle-to-axle, it's one of the bigger youth bows on the market.
Parker implemented exclusive Split Limbs with Fulcrum Pocket System for its newest youth bow. The Lightning ($299) lives up to its name with an IBO of 310 fps. It has an adjustable draw-weight range from 30 to 60 pounds with no bow press needed. While the Lightning has a forgiving brace height of 7 inches, it only offers a letoff of 70 percent, which is on the lower end for 2017 youth bows.